Sustainable energy policy at Colruyt Group

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1 Sustainable energy policy at Colruyt Group

2 Table of contents Introduction...03 Part 1: Saving energy Lighting: 100 % functional Towards optimum climate management...06 a. Orientation and insulation...07 b. Heating...07 CASE STUDY: heating of Ghislenghien distribution centre...08 c. Efficient cooling...09 CASE STUDY: cooling in our meat processing plant CASE STUDY: new office building sets the tone Transport Other ways of saving energy To measure is to know: energy monitoring pays off Part 2: Investing in renewable sources of energy Energy from waste...17 a. Fermentation of organic waste...17 b. Heat recovery Wind energy Energy from sunlight...20 a. A football pitch full...20 b. Shops on solar energy...22 Conclusion

3 Introduction Dear Reader, It is our key task as a distributor to bring together products from throughout the world in a range that satisfies our customers wishes. In carrying out this task we mainly use three kinds of energy: Electromagnetic energy, or electricity, for our production departments (coffee roasting, wine bottling, charcuterie...) and for lighting, electric motors, computers etc. Thermal energy for heating shops and warehouses as well as for refrigerating fresh and deep-frozen products. Mechanical energy for moving goods to the point of sale. Given our long-lasting policy of lowest prices at Colruyt Group, we naturally strive for lowest costs and maximum efficiency. This engrained reflex means that we consciously economize on materials, natural resources and energy at every level. Whether it is a matter of transport, production, building or operation of stores and warehouses, multi-faceted teams of users and technicians constantly investigate how resources can be employed as effectively and efficiently as possible. What is striking here is that the most efficient and economical solutions are often based on simple principles and natural processes. We save energy, since the greenest energy is the energy we do not use. The first part of this brochure gives an overview of our energy management approach and the results in the fields of cooling, heating, lighting, insulation and transport. In the second part you can read where our energy comes from. Whereas we previously mainly used nuclear energy and fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, there has been a definite turnabout in the last ten years. Disruption of the carbon cycle on Earth and the harmful consequences such as the well-known greenhouse effect also contributed to our progress toward more renewable sources of energy. Colruyt Group built its first wind turbine in In recent years we have made further investments in wind energy, solar energy, fermentation and heat recovery. A great deal of study has been devoted to innovative systems for renewable energy. Not every project turned into a success story: it is still a tale of plugging away through the ups and downs. This brochure sketches out our current and future efforts to restrict our energy consumption to sustainable levels and to generate more renewable energy. Have a pleasant read. You can go to with your reactions. 3

4 Part 1: Saving energy Right from the very beginning Colruyt Group firmly decided on rational use of energy. Using energy as efficiently and consciously as possible fits in with our constant striving for quality, simplicity and lowest costs. We have these endeavours to thank for the continued realisation of Colruyt stores commitment to lowest prices and for strengthening the group s other store brands and companies with continued added value for their customers. Over the years we have saved considerable quantities of energy through dozens of projects, large and small. In our stores we often do this by relatively simple but well-thought-out measures such as efficient lighting and closed freezers. Thanks to these and other, more radical, measures, we often come up with remarkable results. An example: in 2003 we took over 26 Battard and Central Cash stores, of which the majority have since been converted to Colruyt stores. Today these renovated sites consume half as much energy as before! However, saving energy is not just a matter of money but also one of commitment. In 1990 Colruyt Group launched its wide-ranging and practical Green Line environmental programme. Since then we have been striving to do business in a more environment-friendly way. You can find a summary of this at under the heading Commitments. On the following pages you can read how far we have got in lighting, insulation, heating, cooling and transport. The case studies illustrate some of these aspects. Historical development The first Colruyt supermarkets in the mid-60s were located in rudimentary renovated properties such as garages, cinema auditoriums and warehouses. The competitive prices were the biggest selling point at least 10 percent lower than competitors prices. In addition, costs were cut by work simplification, the Colruyt: für eine bessere Umwelt use of computers and being prudent and thrifty in the management of resources and energy. In this way, we developed a corporate culture that would continue to focus on simplicity and efficiency. Colruyt: for a better environment 4

5 Part 1 Saving energy 1. Lighting: 100% functional Whether it s stores, distribution centres, offices or car parks, all Colruyt Group s infrastructure is functionally lit. This means that we provide sufficient light to shop pleasantly and to work safely but no more than necessary. In Colruyt stores, for example, there is obviously no shortage of light, but the average light intensity is a mere 250 to 300 lux, whereas other supermarkets go up to 800 or 1,000 lux. We also light our properties only where we have to and hence, for example, we limit the light diffused around parking lots, cutting light pollution. On sites where no work is done at night, there is only minimal safety lighting. By using intelligent plc control, the exterior lighting at our distribution centres only switches on when it gets dark and goes off again in the morning as soon as there is sufficient daylight. Our latest outdoor light fittings switch off automatically in the event of a failure. That way, the lamp does not keep wasting energy while flickering on and off. Moreover, switching them off avoids overheating and damage to lamp and fitting. Finally, we use the latest in central monitoring to keep a close track on the performance and power consumption of the exterior lighting. This not only means that we can intervene more quickly in the event of failure, but above all that we can further rationalise our energy consumption. Furthermore, our technical departments are looking at how we can achieve the same light intensity with fewer or less powerful lamps. Indoor lighting by fluorescent tubes In stores and distribution centres we mainly use the tried and tested fluorescent tube: super efficient lamps fitted with a hammered reflector hood and electronic ballast. These not only provide a stable, flicker-free light, but also use 25% less energy and last twice as long. The hammered aluminium hood provides optimum downward reflection of light, so that we need 20% fewer lamps for the same light intensity. Apart from that, all Colruyt Group s worn out and defective fluorescent tubes are collected centrally In Colruyt stores there is enough light but no more than necessary. Thanks to the reflecting hammered aluminium hoods we need 20% fewer fluorescent tubes. 5

6 Part 1 Saving energy 2. Towards optimum climate management: A combination of orientation, insulation, heating, cooling and heat recovery and reprocessed by the specialist recycling company Recupel. At low temperatures ordinary lamps loose much of their performance. This is why we use specially insulated thermal lamps in the large cold chambers of our distribution centres. Besides, they last up to 5 times longer. For much of the year we cannot do without heating our buildings. Moreover, we need a great deal of refrigeration power for the storage, conservation and processing of fresh and frozen food. We purposely limit our demand for heating and cooling with a number of simple but smart interventions. What is more, we re-use the energy released by certain production processes instead of allowing it to be lost. Exterior lighting On new sites we no longer use mercury vapour lamps but high-pressure sodium lamps with the same light output but less power and energy consumption. In combination with a new type of light fitting that reflects better, we can halve energy consumption. In store car parks, for example, we are now using 150 W lamps instead of 250 W, while in the parking lots of the distribution centres, 1,000 W lamps have been replaced by 400 W lamps. At Dassenveld we save 146,000 kwh a year in this way, which is equivalent to a reduction of 45 tonnes of CO² emission. The large freezer rooms at our distribution centres have no exterior walls on the south side. *Note: the CO² emission or emission reduction in this brochure was calculated using the Belgian average of 307 kg CO² emission per MWh of electricity production. 6

7 Part 1 Saving energy a. Orientation and insulation A well considered location and layout help make a building more energy efficient. For example, at the Dassenveld distribution centre the canteen and offices are located on the south side so as to have the benefit of the sun s heat during the winter. The freezer section, on the other hand, has no exterior walls on the south side and is adjacent to the chilled fresh food section. Obviously, saving energy implies proper insulation and hence our renovation and new construction projects meet the latest energy performance standards. For example, we use 20 cm cellular concrete for the walls and profiled sheet steel for roofs with at least 12 cm of rock wool, materials that can be entirely recycled. In order to avoid condensation problems, our refrigerated warehouses are insulated with vapour-proof materials such as a polyurethane compound for the walls and foam glass tiles on the roof. This insulation material made from recycled glass is completely inert and retains its insulating properties throughout its life. b. Heating In practice heating often means incineration and we try to do that as efficiently as possible. That is why since 1996 we have been connecting our stores to the natural gas network wherever possible. For the sake of better combustion and the greatest possible yield, we have been training our own technicians to maintain and inspect the heating units since In addition, a number of our smaller stores such as OKay are equipped with high performance condensing boilers. Finally a number of alternative heating technologies such as the heat pump are currently being studied for technical and economic feasibility. By systematically recovering the heat given off by the refrigeration of our meat processing plant for defrosting and hot water production, we save 120,000 kwh a year. 7

8 CASE STUDY: Heating of Ghislenghien distribution centre To heat the Ghislenghien distribution centre we have two stokeholds and an incinerator for non-recoverable waste, equipped with heat recovery. It is noteworthy that the heat from all three sources is collected in one central reservoir. The combination automatically gives precedence to heat from waste before we start to stoke up the fires in the stokeholds. In this way we save 3,140,000 kwh of gas a year. By taking into account the outdoor temperature and the current demand (lower at night and at weekends) the central system produces no more heat than necessary. When little or no heating is needed in the summer, we still recover 20% of the heat from waste. This is converted into hot water, which is used for washing out reusable wine bottles. Heat is distributed throughout the building extremely efficiently. From the central reservoir only the requested amount of heat is passed to the various points of consumption. Therefore, unlike conventional central heating, this system virtually never uses the full capacity of the piping. This means there is significantly less heat loss and less power is needed to transport the heat. The last link in the chain is a silent, low-maintenance jet air system that both ventilates and heats the premises. The major advantage is that the fans distribute the warm air well and keep it down low much better than conventional systems, which results in energy savings of up to 80%. In the summer this system is also used for free cooling : at night cool outdoor air is blown through the buildings. By automatically giving precedence to the heat from waste generated in our furnace, we save 3,140,000 kwh of gas in 2008.

9 Part 1 Saving energy c. Efficient cooling Shops and offices As a distributor of fresh and frozen food, Colruyt Group requires a large refrigeration capacity. In order to ensure the quality of our product it is essential that the cold cycle always remains closed, from delivery through production, storage and transport into our stores. Many years ago, we decided to place closed chesttype freezers in Colruyt, OKay and Bio-Planet stores in order to save as much energy as possible. These freezers protect the products against light and air and, above all, consume much less energy than open or upright cabinets. Cold air is heavier than hot air and therefore very little cold air escapes from chesttype freezers when they are opened and closed. In this way we save 35,000,000 kwh a year, which equals the energy consumption of around 10,000 families. This substantial saving will increase further as our latest chests are 8% bigger but nonetheless consume 5% less. Typically, in our supermarkets all fresh products are displayed in one refrigerated area, the Fresh Market. This not only guarantees freshness, but also helps us to keep down expenses. Cooling comes directly through the walls, measured out to match the product groups. Thus the areas for meat and dairy products are cooler than those for fruit and vegetables. Colruyt Group has also deliberately chosen not to install air-conditioning, neither in shops nor in offices. Air-conditioning uses a great deal of energy and its advantages over a short period of the year do not outweigh the investment and operating cost. We have therefore chosen to make sustainable investments in insulation, ventilation and free cooling. Typically, at Colruyt, OKay and Bio-Planet all fresh products are displayed in one refrigerated area: fresh, efficient and economical. With our closed chest-type freezers, we save 35,000,000 kwh a year, or the energy consumption of around 10,000 families. 9

10 Part 1 Saving energy Cooling in production and storage In our central warehouses we frequently use free cooling. As long as the temperature outside is lower than the temperature required in our cold stores, we cool these directly with purified cold outdoor air. As it becomes warmer, the cooling system kicks in. For example, wine bottling and coffee packing produce a lot of heat, but in winter cooling with outdoor air is sufficient. Thanks to free cooling, we save 225,000 kwh a year at the Dassenveld distribution centre, which is equivalent to the energy consumption of 64 families. In addition, we save another 200,000 kwh by cooling reception, cheese cutting and frozen food packaging by displacement ventilation. This technique is based on the simple principle that cold air is heavier than hot air. Accordingly, we blow the cold air into the room via grilles down low in the wall, so that only the bottom-most air layers are cooled. For example, if we want 12 C in a cold store, it is sufficient to supply cold air at 10 C. In a conventional system, with cooling from the ceiling, the air supply would have to be 5 C colder. As far as possible, the necessary cold is produced and stored at night. In this way we are able to switch off the cooling system during daytime peak periods and the electricity grid is not overloaded. 10

11 CASE STUDY: cooling in meat processing Vlevico: One of the most energy-efficient meat processing plants in Europe In meat processing, cooling accounts for a large part of the energy consumption. Accordingly, during the reorganisation and renovation, our meatprocessing plant was equipped with an extremely efficient ammonia based central refrigeration system. For buildings with multiple cold stores, a central installation is more efficient than separate cooling units. And in terms of output, cooling with ammonia comes out streets ahead of the traditional Freon-based system. In comparison with one of these, the new system is vastly more economic and avoids 1,602 tonnes of CO² emission per year. Furthermore, the heat given off by cooling is systematically recovered for defrosting and hot water production. In this way we save another 120,000 kwh a year. Today, Vlevico is one of the most energy-efficient meat processing companies in Europe. Although, according to the BESS study*, an average of 715 kwh is needed to process 1 tonne of meat, our plant only needs 398 kwh, or 55% of the average. We are determined to do even better in the future by further refining our energy management. Besides saving energy, the new cooling system has other advantages. Ammonia is ozone neutral and does not reinforce the greenhouse effect, in contrast to the traditional R22 coolant (which will be banned by 2015). Better energy management also leads indirectly to better hygiene and environmental comfort, less wear and tear and lower maintenance costs. Note: *Vlevico was one of the 36 European meat-processing plants that took part in the BESS comparative study (Benchmarking and Energy Management Schemes in SMEs). The object of this study is to promote benchmarking and integrated energy control in small and medium industrial enterprises in the food and drink industry. The BESS project was supported by the European Union s IEE programme (Intelligent Energy Europe). 11

12 CASE STUDY: New office building sets the tone In spring 2009 Colruyt Group will be moving into a new office building. In the design our architects and engineers have linked comfort and health with energy efficiency. In comparison with our previous building projects, the new structure once again comes out a good deal better in the following areas: For office lighting we use fluorescent tubes with the same light output but less power - 28 W instead of 36 W. Saving: 12,830 kwh of electricity a year, which is equivalent to 3.9 tonnes less CO² emission. The windows no longer have reflective glass, but clear glass with blinds. In this way we get more daylight inside but also keep out direct sunlight. Saving on lighting: 15,500 kwh of electricity a year, which corresponds to 4.8 tonnes less CO² emission. The outer shell of the building scores very well in terms of insulation and air-tightness. The insulation standard (K32) is not only less than before (K59) but also remains way below the legal standard (K45). Saving: 29,000 kwh of gas a year. A central high-performance gas burner and a condensing boiler provide heat production. The system recovers the heat from the flue gasses instead of blowing it away. Because the central heating is operating at lower temperatures, less heat is lost through the piping. Saving: 4,700 kwh of gas a year. The offices are heated via air management units that provide ventilation at the same time and are equipped for heat recovery. In this way we recover three quarters of the energy (heat, moisture) from the exhausted indoor air in order to pre-heat the cold outdoor air during the winter. Saving: 53,000 kwh of gas a year, and an extra 35,200 kwh of electricity a year. In the design of the new Hellebroek office building, our architects and engineers have linked comfort and health to energy efficiency.

13 Part 1 Saving energy 3. Transport Optimum freight and route planning As a distributor, we bring together a wide range of products from throughout the world. We offer this constantly changing range to the consumer via a finely subdivided and rapidly growing network of stores. It is our responsibility to make transport from producer to consumer as efficient and economical as possible. To this end, we have built up over the years a powerful provisioning system that is unique in the distribution sector. Using (combinations of) ship, train and lorry, our suppliers deliver full loads directly to our central distribution plants. Our central computers estimate the optimum provisioning load for all stores on the basis of the daily sales figures. The system knows the exact volume and weight of every product and can combine different product categories (food, non-food, vegetables, meat, frozen food, et cetera) in a single load. As a result, our lorries are almost always completely full (average 95%) without, however, taking to the road overloaded. To put it another way, in relation to the volume carried, the number of transport kilometres is kept to a minimum. On the return journey, the wagons are also optimally loaded with empty trolleys and pallets, empties, sorted waste or cargo from suppliers. This efficient provisioning system, combined with our sophisticated route planning, saves 5.5 million transport kilometres, or 1.8 million litres of diesel a year. 13

14 Part 1 Saving energy In order to make our transport even more energy efficient, more than half of our wagons are now equipped with environmentally friendly Euro 5 engines. We also have great expectations of a further refinement of our distribution system, possibly in collaboration with other companies. We want to use more inland waterway transport for delivering large volumes of long-life goods to the central warehouses. To this end we provide information about our large volumes to the Flanders Institute for Logistics (Vlaams Instituut voor Logistiek - VIL), who investigate where collaboration is possible. Hybrid tractors on the way Following on from hybrid passenger cars, wagons are currently under development with both a (diesel) combustion engine and an electric motor. A hybrid lorry not only consumes much less fuel than a conventional model, it also causes less noise pollution. When the diesel engine is turned off, for example in urban traffic, there are no emissions, and hardly any noise pollution 4. Other ways of saving energy In water purification Our meat processing plant Vlevico uses some 300 m3 of water a day, some for preparing meat products but mainly for daily cleaning, a requirement for guaranteeing absolute hygiene. Together with the neighbouring food company Kraft Foods, we have built a biological water purification station to treat our waste water. Because small air bubbles spread oxygen through the water better than large ones, this station operates more efficiently and economically than conventional aeration systems. Every year we save 135,000 kwh, or the energy consumption of 37 families. In the crate wash For the sake of top-grade hygiene, our reusable transport crates for fresh products are thoroughly washed after every use. Since 2004 we have a fully automatic crate wash that operates on 48 C water, with crates slowly passing through the 38 metre long washing and drying tunnel. The system processes 5,000 crates an hour in accordance with all hygiene standards. It consumes less energy than 14

15 Part 1 Saving energy With its long tunnel and 48 water temperature, our crate washing installation uses less energy than shorter tunnels operating at a higher temperature. The computer processes the data into comprehensible tables that the stores can use to monitor their own energy consumption, intervene where necessary, and take preventive action. In the course of 2008 the end users (stores, warehouses, production units) will get a cockpit with clear indicators for total consumption, consumption by department, etcetera. shorter tunnels working at higher temperatures, and the crates are washed more thoroughly. Furthermore, the water reservoirs are well insulated so that the heat is kept inside. 5. To measure is to know: energy monitoring pays off In mid-2006, Colruyt Group began a project to survey all energy users, flows and costs and to bring them under structural control. To do this we developed the ECO2 (Energy Colruyt zero CO²) measurement and reporting system. With this investment of around 800,000 euros to date, we want to reduce the group s energy consumption by 10% in the long term. In the first phase, energy meters that pass information to the central computer in Halle every 5 minutes were installed at all critical points (Fresh Market, frozen food, heating, water) in 40 test stores and the three biggest production and distribution plants. The project is paying off thanks to the contribution of all our staff combined with the central data analysis. Up to now we have recorded remarkable results from ECO2. Before choosing our latest printers, various models were tested exhaustively, including for creep consumption between 2 print jobs. We finally chose a device that consumes two-thirds less power than the previous model. Together, the 120 new devices represent 400 tonnes less CO² emission a year. On top of the energy efficiency approach that characterizes Colruyt Group, there appears to be great potential for further energy savings. In concrete terms, this will involve a mix of technical and organisational efforts and consciousness raising campaigns. ECO2 is an important step towards structural attention to energy at all levels within the group. The system will allow us to systematically reduce our energy consumption and, above all, maintain the improvements achieved (see Conclusion). 15

16 Part 2 Investing in renewable sources of energy Reducing energy consumption is an important part of Colruyt Group s environmental programme. At the same time we want our energy needs to place as small a burden on the environment as possible. Hence we now use only green power, either bought in or recovered or generated in-house from renewable sources. We do not choose our suppliers randomly when buying green power. We prefer to buy at a slightly higher price from producers who invest in sustainable energy for the future. In our own energy production, we assume maximum recovery and use wind power and the sun. It is our ambition to draw most of our energy from renewable sources by Today we have already taken a number of important steps in that direction. By 2015 Colruyt Group will be drawing most of its energy from renewable sources. A schematic representation: Colruyt Group s electricity requirements 10% energy saving with ECO2 In-house green energy power production North Sea wind turbines Purchased green power with guarantee of origin Combined heat/power Ypres wind turbines Solar panels at Dassenveld and Laekebeek distribution centres (2nd phase) Solar panels in Ekeren, Aarschot, Geel, etc. Alsemberg solar panels Dassenveld wind turbines Ninove solar panels + fermentation Ghislenghien wind turbines + Dassenveld solar panels

17 Part 2 Investing in renewable sources of energy 1. Energy from waste Colruyt Group has long been working with its suppliers to prevent waste. Thus we avoid around 5,000 tonnes of packaging waste a year by making our packaging smaller or thinner, simply leaving it out or replacing it with reusable alternatives. The production departments, distribution centres and stores sort at source and their waste goes to our two recycling centres. Materials such as metal, sackcloth, plastic and cardboard are compacted and then go to recycling companies for further processing. We make maximum use of the energy released while processing other kinds of waste. a. Fermentation of organic waste The organic waste from our stores, such as vegetables, fruit or bread that has passed the sell-by date, is processed in a fermentation plant. In 2007 we fermented approximately 12,000 tonnes of organic waste, generating 2,760,000 kwh of energy, comparable with the annual energy consumption of around 750 households. How does fermentation work? Fermentation is a completely natural process in which micro-organisms break down the waste into a non-odorous liquid over a period of 34 days. This residual product can be used as a fertiliser in agriculture. The decomposition process gives off biogas that is converted into green electricity, which in turn is supplied to the grid. The heat produced by the engine is recovered to heat water and premises. An extra advantage of fermentation is that any food waste can be used and, besides a high quality fertiliser, the process also supplies environmentally friendly energy. Composting, on the other hand, works only with vegetable waste and yields only a soil improver. Fermentation is currently outsourced but we are studying the construction of a plant of our own, close to the distribution centres. That would limit waste transport and (part of) the energy generated could be used in our own buildings. In 2007 we generated 2,760,000 KWh of energy from our organic waste, which equals the annual energy consumption of around 750 households. 17

18 Part 2 Investing in renewable sources of energy b. Heat recovery by incineration Waste that is not suitable for recycling or fermentation is incinerated in our own heat recovery plant. The heat released by incineration is used to the full. We heat part of the distribution centre in Ghislenghien with it and produce hot water for washing our reusable wine bottles. This form of heat recovery yielded a saving of 2,646,000 kwh of gas in 2006, which is equivalent to the consumption of 115 families. The dry scrubbing of the flue gases implies that the incinerator emits virtually no harmful substances. Continuous measurement shows that the plant meets the strictest environmental standards. 2. Wind energy Colruyt Group makes full use of wind power as a clean, renewable source of energy for generating electricity. We built our first wind turbine to supply our own energy in Halle in 1999, and a larger more advanced type in Ghislenghien in 2006, representing a total investment of 3,950,000 euros. On the basis of their peak capacity (1,650 kw and 2,000 kw), the turbines have an estimated annual output of 1.85 and 4.4 million kwh respectively. Together this is sufficient to provide 1,785 families with power for a whole year. Because no fossil fuels are needed to produce wind power, we avoid 1,920 tonnes of CO2 emission per year (calculated using the Belgian average of 307 kg CO² emission per MWh of electricity production). In practice, between 1999 and 2008 the wind turbine in Halle has already supplied 15,540,000 kwh of electricity, which is approximately equivalent to the energy use of 530 families over an 8-year period. And since December 2006 the wind turbine at Ghislenghien has already produced 5,400,000 kwh of power. We use the heat we recover from incinerating residual waste to heat the water for washing our reusable wine bottles. 18

19 Part 2 Investing in renewable sources of energy In practice, the generated power does not (yet) go to households nearby but directly to the adjacent distribution centres, where it is used for lighting. At Ghislenghien, for example, the wind turbine supplies 40% of all energy needs. The wind turbines in figures Halle Ghislenghien Height of tower m Length of blades m Total height m Power kw Estimated annual output 1,85 4,4 miljoen kwh Equivalent consumption families Reduction in CO² emission tonnes With an eye to the future Colruyt Group invests not only in the own energy supply, but also in miscellaneous projects that produce green power for the distribution network. In Ypres we and three partners are together building a wind farm with 9 turbines, an investment of 20 million euros that should be operational by the summer of With an anticipated output of 35 GWh a year, the wind farm will supply power to over 10,100 families. Its location on the Ieperleekanaal Noord industrial estate guarantees a high yield from the wind and is also sensible from the point of view of bird life and the landscape. Colruyt Group and 3 partners are planning a wind farm of 36 wind turbines on the Bank With No Name, an extremely interesting location in terms of wind power, out in the North Sea some 40 km off the coast. The anticipated output is 736 GWh a year, enough to supply 230,000 families with power. This project involves an investment of 600 million euros and the target is to be in operation by In 1999 we built our first wind turbine in Halle and a second one in Ghislenghien in Together with a number of partners we also invest in wind farms in Ypres and in the North Sea. 19

20 Part 2 Investing in renewable sources of energy 3. Energy from sunlight In the last few years Colruyt Group has invested heavily in systems that convert solar energy into electricity. With our current solar panels we avoid a full 112 tonnes of CO² emission per annum. In renovation and new construction projects, we systematically look at whether solar panels are technically possible and financially cost effective. a. A football pitch full In September 2006 we put 8,000 square metres of solar panels on the roof of our Dassenveld distribution centre in Halle, representing an investment of 1,400,000 euros. With an area larger than a football pitch the system was then the largest in the country and we are planning to add twice as many panels. The estimated annual output of 250,000 kwh of electricity is enough for the average annual consumption of 80 families and means a reduction of 78 tonnes CO2 emission a year. The power generated is used immediately in the distribution centre itself. Thanks to the combination of solar panels and wind turbines, green power is now available to us 80% of the time. The two energy projects complement one another perfectly. When there is more wind in the winter, the turbine maintains a high output. In summer there is less wind but certainly more than enough sunlight, which also impinges at right angles so that the solar panels perform better. Not only the excellent performance makes the investment in solar energy cost-effective, but also government subsidies, the low operating costs and the long life (20 to 30 years). Dassenveld distribution centre in Halle. With 8,000 m 2 of solar panels and a 1,650 kw wind turbine there is green power available 80% of the time. 20

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